Date of Award


Document type


Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


First Advisor

M. Christine King

Second Advisor

Genevieve Chandler

Third Advisor

Aline Gubrium

Subject Categories



The purpose of this study was to explore the events that have promoted or hindered a first-time Puerto Rican father's transition to fatherhood. Interviews were conducted with twelve fathers who reported one child one year of age or less. Within the United States the Hispanic population is the largest and the fasting growing minority population. Early father involvement for immigrant and ethnically diverse families has not been widely studied. Analysis of the interview data revealed two main themes; "Accepting of Fatherhood" and "Adjusting to Fatherhood." Specific to these themes, three categories became apparent; "Buying-In: Initial Step to Fatherhood," "The Journey: Going Through It," and "Moving Into Fatherhood: The Rest of the Story." Four sub-themes emerged and were relevant to the second stage: "emotions, connections, recognition, and responsibility." The journey and moving into fatherhood stages were conceptualized as a circular relationship allowing the father to interact with new experiences as the opportunity or challenge arises. Meleis' middle range theory of "Transitions" provided the theoretical framework for the study. Findings indicated most fathers in this study were highly present and involved throughout the childbearing period and the joy these fathers expressed for their child was clearly described. Fathers also identified feeling of exclusion and wanting to be viewed as an equal status parent with the mother. Fathers expressed appreciation for the opportunity to tell their story. These findings are supportive of the contemporary view of machismo. Policy and practice implications are described for educational programs and future research.


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